THERE'S A BEAR ON MY CHAIR

A bear has settled himself in a mouse’s chair, and nothing will move him.

The big polar bear is certainly not unaware that he has usurped the chair, but he seems to be feeling no guilt about it. The sweater-clad mouse speaks directly to readers, airing complaints, making outrageous threats, offering bribes, and throwing tantrums. It even acknowledges that the bear’s endangered status calls for some extra care, but the situation is untenable. All the while, the bear is silently self-absorbed. In desperation, the mouse leaves for parts unknown. When the bear finally ambles away, he heads home to his igloo only to find that mouse asleep in his bed. Now the tale has turned, and the bear at last speaks: one, perplexed line. The mouse’s one-sided diatribe appears in very large print with key words emphasized in red. Every second line ends in a rhyme with the contested “chair,” including “glare,” “lair,” “hair,” even “leisure wear,” and (of course) “underwear.” Collins’ pencil-and-digital illustrations are completely interwoven with the text, enlarging and enhancing the tale with over-the-top humor and expressive body language. The mouse jumps out of a box (in that underwear), offers a juicy pear, glares from atop a ladder, and more. The bear matches these goofy antics as he reads a newspaper, does an Elvis impression, takes a snooze, and checks his cellphone.

Silly, laugh-out-loud fun . (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8942-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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